How To Let Go of Sexual Shame

Sexual Wellness | | Natasha Weiss
5 min read

No matter your relationship with it, sexuality is a big part of who we are as humans. Sex should be a source of pleasure, connection, joy, creativity, and much more. 

Unfortunately, it’s often not that straightforward. Sometimes sex becomes a chore, a source of anxiety, disconnection, or you don’t have sex at all. 

A lot of what causes these sexual blocks, or keeps us from enjoying our sex lives comes from shame. Sexual shame is deep-rooted and can stem from all different sources, making its way all the way to your bed.

Sexual shame can feel like this huge wall between you and your partner, or yourself. It can block you from feeling connected, and from feeling the depths of pleasure that you’re capable of. 

But where does sexual shame come from, and how do you overcome it and have the sex life of your dreams? Let’s dive in!

Getting to the Root of Sexual Shame

Before you can figure out how to release sexual shame, you have to figure out where it’s coming from. These sorts of conversations and reflections can be incredibly tender, triggering, or emotional, so please be gentle with yourself.

These are some of the most common sources of sexual shame:


Our world isn’t exactly a welcoming place for different experiences of sexuality. So often society and culture instigate sexual shame, especially for cis women and people with vulvas, people in the LGBTQI+ community, and anyone who has kinks or sexual interests that deviate from the norm.

Living in a closed-minded society, or one that doesn’t understand the importance of sexual wellness can create shame about simply being who you are or being attracted to who you’re attracted to.


Religion is another aspect of culture that can lead to massive amounts of sexual shame. Many religions also inherently discourage, or outright shame sexual pleasure. Again this is even more so for the same demographics we mentioned above. 

Sexual shame from religion can linger even long after you may have left the religion or changed your relationship with it. 

Family Unit

Your family is probably influenced by your culture and/or religion, but they may have more obvious attitudes toward sexuality that were preached to you growing up. 

They may have outright shamed you for certain behaviors, had harmful views towards sexuality, or didn’t talk about sex at all which can make it seem taboo. A lot of your shame may come from not wanting to disappoint or bring shame to your family. 


Media is a reflection of your culture and society, and can unfortunately perpetuate shame. We’re exposed to so much media, so if you had negative programming toward sexuality at a young age, it may have made an impact.

Sexual Trauma

If you’ve experienced sexual trauma or abuse, know that we are so sorry. These experiences can easily create shame around sexuality, and all sorts of other blocks. Know that you deserve to feel good, present, and safe in your body.

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Are you working on releasing sexual shame?

Reframing Shame

A huge part of releasing sexual shame is knowing how to reframe it. What are the sources of this shame? How can you take responsibility for your own sexual pleasure, while also knowing that none of that was your fault?

How can you have more grace with yourself and your process, and also prioritize joy and pleasure in your sex life?

Think of it this way: Every bit of shame that you hold, blocks you off that much more from different depths of pleasure and connection. It’s difficult to rationalize or quantify this, but once you feel it for yourself, you understand. 

When you’re able to release some shame, you can feel the places you’ve blocked yourself off. Little by little, you start to experience more pleasure and more connection in the areas where shame once took up space.

Find Allies and Community

Releasing sexual shame might seem like a solo endeavor, but having allies and a community can be extremely helpful. This is especially true if you’re interested in exploring the world of kink, or if you’re LGBTQI+. 

Building a community can also be crucial for people who for example, left the church and are finding themselves sexually, or who want to find allies in people who have had similar life experiences that have created sexual shame.

Get Professional Support

Friends and community aren’t the only sources of support you can get in healing your sexuality. Getting professional help can be monumental in helping you release sexual shame. 

A therapist or other mental health professional can help you examine the source of your shame and reframe it if that’s difficult to do on your own. They also can offer other perspectives and give you tools that you may not have been able to find by yourself. 

Any mental health professional that you feel comfortable with is a good choice, but you may want to consider seeing a sex therapist or someone who specializes in the area in which you need support.

Another option is to see a sexological bodyworker or someone who practices yoni mapping. Your body energetically holds onto shame and other emotions, which is why it can block you from pleasure. 

These professionals can help release those physiological blocks so that you can feel more at home in your body and sexuality. 

Tap Into Joy and Pleasure

Joy and pleasure can be antidotes to heavy feelings like shame. When you prioritize them, you take away some of the power or hold that shame has on you. 

Here are some practical tips for tapping into joy and pleasure in your sex life:

  • Practice habits that help you feel more sensual whether it’s dancing, picking flowers, or wearing your favorite perfume
  • Work on increasing intimacy outside of the bedroom, whether or not you have a partner
  • Masturbate more, you can try positive affirmations while you’re doing it like “I am worthy of pleasure” and “There is no more room for shame in my body, only joy and pleasure”.

While feeling them can be easier said than done, every little bit of extra pleasure you experience in your sex life is a cause for celebration. It can take time to fully release sexual shame, but you absolutely can. You have the power and the tools to experience the sex life that you desire and deserve. 

3 thoughts on “How To Let Go of Sexual Shame

  • Krystal says:

    Thank you for this article. I think it Mayne just what I need to overcome sexual shame.

  • Skyler Penny says:

    Can men feel sexual shame?

  • Dart Cree says:

    Skyler: Oh yes.

    My parents never talked about sex. They never showed any romantic attachment for each other. Indeed, I wonder how they had 3 children. Maybe there is truth in the stories about cabbage patches and storks.

    I did not get The Talk when I came of age.

    I’d been sexually abused as a toddler. No good memories of that, but my sister tells of a sudden behaviour changes that all are consistent with CSA. My parents never told me. Found out from my sister. From one flashback, I’m pretty sure it was a regular thing. In the flashback, I’m holding up fingers spread. Flashback had the context of abuse. I knew instantly that a hand of spread fingers meant “many” In a small town, in a neighbourhood with lots of stay at home moms, many means it had to be within the family. So, brother (13 at the times) sister (16 at the time) one one of my parents. Stats say brother. Gut says mother. I’ll never know for sure, unless memories come back.

    Couple that with a local catholic church and parochial catholic school that either never spoke of sex (nuns) or “sex is for the purpose of making children and must not occur out side the marriage bed” and “masturbation is a serious sin (mortal) that severs your connection to god”

    Couple that wit parents that were intermittently emotionally neglectful.

    Couple that with a mom who never formed an attachment bond, both parents who believed that children should be touched as little as possible.

    You end up with a boy who liked to masturbate — first memory of doing so is about age 5, maybe 4 and a half. Who is taught at school that it’s a mortal sin; and taught that unless there is a serious effort to not sin again, there is no forgiveness. I ended up certain I was going to hell. This about age 12. Certain the same way today that I’m certain the sun will come up.

    And there was no one in my life I felt I could talk to.

    As my childhood friends hit puberty, they started looking at their peers differetly. I didn’t understand. By grade 9 all my friends had turned into acquaintences.

    I didn’t date. I was polite to girls, but not engaged with them. Was more interested in boys, but that was connected to even greater shame, and no idea even of what ‘gay’ meant except that it was a pejorative term, like geek and nerd.

    I’m still fucked up.

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